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Nanny for the Neighbors: Chapter 40


After that, everything changes.

Apparently, all Sebastian really needed was to make a solid decision about what to do with Cami, because as soon as he decides that he’s going to be her dad, he goes at it full-force. He doesn’t just want me to look after her anymore; he wants me to teach him how to be a parent. And he’s a natural. Every morning, I get in at eight to find him in bed with her, bleary-eyed and yawning as he gives her a bottle. I take over and go through my normal routines, bathing her, making her food, doing activities with her—but now, every so often, he pops up to watch me, asking questions and making notes in a little notebook he’s started carrying around. He always comes with me on our afternoon walks to the local park, and most evenings he puts her to bed.

That’s not to say that everything’s easy. He’s still nervous around Cami. His least favourite task was learning to bathe her. He had some odd idea that he might accidentally drop her, and she’d crack her head against the side of the tub. It pisses me off to no end, that his parents instilled this idea in him that he can’t help hurting people.

Really, nothing could be further from the truth. The more time we spend together, the more he lets go of his tightly-wound self control. It turns out, when he’s relaxed, he’s a genuinely sweet, gentle guy. Every day, I like him more and more. After a full week of walks in the parks and bedtime stories, I can barely look at him without butterflies exploding in my stomach.

I might be seeing more of Seb, but I’m definitely seeing way less of Jack. Way less. He’s working pretty much non-stop, from the morning to late in the night. He doesn’t eat. He doesn’t do laundry. Cyrus assures me that he has a mini-fridge, a kettle, and a lifetime’s supply of ramen in his room, so he won’t actually starve to death, but I can’t help but worry about him.

On the seventh day of his self-confinement, I decide to take matters into my own hands. I’m already cooking lunch for myself and Seb anyway, so I throw together a bowl of chicken pasta salad and knock on his door.

“Yes?” He asks, after a moment.

“Open the door, please.”

“Beth.” There’s a sigh, and then he pulls the door open, sticking his head out. “I’m busy, sweetheart.”

I offer him the bowl. “I made you lunch.”

He blinks at the pasta like he can’t remember what real food is. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“I know. That’s what makes me so nice.” He takes the bowl, and I use the opportunity to slip past him, following him inside his room.

If it was cluttered the last time I was in here, now it’s practically a minefield. There are empty coffee mugs everywhere, papers overflowing off the desk and onto the floor, and his bin is piled full of empty energy drink cans.

He groans. “God, don’t come in here. I look like a slob.”

“No, you don’t. You look like a very stressed, busy man who’s pulling too many all-nighters.” I reach up to trace the blonde stubble growing out on his jaw. It doesn’t look like he’s shaved all week. “I like this. Suits you.”

“Thanks, love.” He sighs as I press a kiss to his cheek. “Beth… I’m really sorry, I just don’t have time for this. Trust me, there is nothing I want more in the world right now than to just turn off the computers and spend some time with you, but—”

I reach up and wrap my arms around him. He’s still for a moment. Then he pulls me in close, hugging me tightly.

“You’re doing great,” I murmur in his ear. I figure he probably needs to hear it. His breath hitches in his chest. He nuzzles into me.

“You’re the sweetest woman alive,” he mumbles against my cheek.

I smile. “Prove it.”

“Excuse me?”

I flatten my hands on his shoulders and push him down onto the chair, straddling him. He looks up at me, his blue eyes wide. I’m not surprised. This isn’t my normal style at all—but hey. I’ve learned a move or two from Cyrus. There’s nothing like fucking a stripper to boost your sexual confidence.

I push my face into the crook of his neck, feeling him swallow against me. “Taste me,” I breathe in his ear, rubbing my lips over his thrumming pulse.

He groans like he’s in physical pain. He might be; as I readjust my weight over his hips, I can feel him stiffening under me. “I don’t have time,” he moans, tightening his grip on me. “Fuck—”

“You’ll be more productive if you have a break,” I insist. “Come on. Bet we can both get off in fifteen minutes.” He hesitates, and I stroke his cheek. “Jack. You’re killing yourself. Surely you can see that.” I run my hand through his blonde hair. I can feel him shaking slightly under me. I don’t know if it’s anxiety, low blood sugar, or caffeine overdose, but either way, it’s unacceptable. “Your health is more important than any job,” I remind him.

“It’s not,” he mutters. “Not this job.” He touches his forehead to mine. “You’re sweet, but I’ll be okay.”

I sigh heavily. “Okay.” I stand, squeezing his shoulder. “You can keep working. Call me if you want a break later, okay?” As I turn to go, my elbow knocks a pen off his desk. I bend down slowly to pick it up, giving him a good look at my red lace thong. “Here.” I set it back on the table and head for the door.

“Wait,” he grinds out.

I smile.

His lunch break ends up lasting well over an hour, until Cami wakes up again.

Over the next week, I also see three more of Cyrus’s shows. I can’t stay away. Some nights, I finish my shift, go home, and can’t stop thinking of him oiling himself up in the changing room. Grinding against a strange girl. Slowly pulling off his clothes. Whenever my train of thought heads in that direction, I inevitably find myself in line outside the Tease Club half an hour later, shivering as I wait to pay my entrance fee. I never tell Cyrus when I’m going, but he somehow always spots me in the dark room. Every time, he comes to my table, and I’m led up to the main stage with him holding my hand tightly.

On my third visit, he carries me through the crowd bridal style, his face buried in my neck like he’s breathing in my scent. “Careful,” I mumble in his ear as he sets me gently in the chair. “I’m not wearing underwear.”

He stares at me, missing his cue. “What?

“This is a short dress,” I tell him. “And loads of people are watching. I don’t really want all of these people to see my goods.”

For a few seconds, he just gapes at me. I see his Adam’s apple bob as he swallows convulsively. Around us, the lights flash as the other dancers move in sync, but he stays frozen, breathing hard.

I cup his cheek. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to distract you. Keep going.”

“You are in so much trouble,” he growls, tugging off his tie. Instead of tossing it aside, he wraps it around my eyes, blindfolding me. I gape.


He bends and nips my cheek, scraping his teeth over my skin. The crowd screams.

The performance is a thousand times hotter when I can’t see what’s happening. All of my senses are heightened as he drags my hands down his hard, sweaty abs, rolling his hips over mine. By the time the show is over, I’m sweating and panting and halfway to coming. Cy doesn’t even wait for the encore; just grabs me and drags me outside to find a taxi. When we make it back to the boys’ flat, my moans manage to drag Jack out of his bedroom pretty efficiently.

About a week after my chat with Sebastian, I walk into the flat at eight AM to find Jack in the lounge. He’s kneeling next to Cami’s bouncer, staring out of the window as he swings her gently. His shadowed eyes are zoned out. He doesn’t even notice I’ve arrived until I sit down next to him, kissing his cheek.

“Hey, space cadet. I missed you.”

He blinks, looking around at me, and his face melts into a smile. “Oh. Hey. Sorry. Off in my head.”

“Yeah?” I slip my arms around Cami, picking her up. She coos happily as I pull her into a hug, grabbing a fistful of my hair and tugging. I gently disentangle her fingers before my hairline recedes. “What you thinking about?”

He rubs his eyes. “Just some code. There’s a bug messing up one of the save points. I spent all night trying to reproduce it, and it keeps slipping past me.”

“This is really stressing you out, huh?”

He shrugs. “It’s important. And I guess I’m kind of a perfectionist. Coding is all I’m really good at, so it feels pretty crap when I even screw that up.”

I frown, nuzzling Cami’s cheek. “Coding isn’t all you’re good at. What do you mean?”

“It’s just my thing.” Cami gets bored of me and reaches for him again. He takes her off me, bouncing her on his lap. “All my siblings are athletes. One of my brothers plays semi-pro football, the other is on the national swim team, and my little sister is a gymnast. She’s working towards competing in the next Olympics.”

My eyebrows shoot up. “That’s amazing!”

He nods, smiling. “They all are. I was never sporty, though. I mean, I work out, but only because I have to. I think the gym is the dullest place on Earth.” He sways Cami from side to side, making her giggle. “School was what I was always best at.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s all you’re good for, though,” I start, but I’m interrupted by a stream of muffled curse words coming from behind Seb’s closed office door. We both glance over.

“What’s going on in there?” I ask.

Jack shrugs. “Don’t know. He’s been on the phone for the past half an hour. Probably arguing with an investor, or something.” He bends and gives Cami a kiss on the nose. “Can you take over? I really want to fix this bug.”

“Well, it is my job, so I guess I have to.”

He smiles and gives me a quick peck on the lips, then grabs a half-drunk mug of coffee from the counter and heads back to his bedroom.

I bop Cami’s nose. “What do you think about trying some yummy oatmeal this morning, huh?”

She shouts with glee, and I stand, heading over to the kitchen.

The oatmeal does not go down well. In fact, I think Cami only gets one tiny lick in, before deciding she’d much rather just dump the bowl all over her front and take a bottle instead. Which is how I end up crouched by the bathtub, washing a squirming, sticky baby.

“Look up,” I tell her, holding her little whale bath toy over her head. “You’ve got porridge all down your neck.”

She babbles, ignoring me and examining her toes. I try to slip the flannel under her chin to wipe up the baby food, but she stubbornly pins her chin to her chest.

“Yeah?” I ask. “You want a mucky neck? You saving your breakfast for later? I can put it in a tupperware, you know.”

There’s a knock at the door.

“I’m just bathing Cami,” I call. I expect whoever it is to go away, but the door pushes open. I look up as Seb steps inside. He looks alarmingly close to how he did last week, his face pale and sweaty and his hair rumpled.

“Oh, honey,” I frown, “you look like you need a nap.”

“It’s just a headache,” he mutters.

“Your eyes aren’t focussing. You look like you’ve had some kind of traumatic head injury. Take your meds and go to bed.”

Cami notices him and squeals, splashing the water excitedly. A flicker of pain passes over his face, but he ignores it, coming to kneel on the bath mat next to me. He takes the washcloth, puts Cami’s toy whale on her round belly, and wordlessly takes over, cleaning his daughter in gentle, smooth strokes.

“You need to get her neck,” I say, sitting back on my haunches. “Half of her breakfast is sitting right under her double chin.”

“Look up,” he says quietly, nudging her chin with his finger. Cami refuses, so he rummages around in the box of bath toys, finding a tube of bubbles. He uncaps it and blows a stream of shiny bubbles over her head, and she lifts her face to watch, delighted. He quickly cleans up the beige goop. I smile to myself, then nudge him gently.

“Is something wrong? I heard you arguing. It’s not the app, is it?”

He shakes his head, carefully sluicing off Cami’s hair. “I told my mum about Cami. Figured I had to do it, sooner or later.”

I wince. That can’t have been a fun conversation. “What did she say?”

“She’s… unimpressed that I kept Cami a secret. She wants to meet her. This weekend.” His lips twist grimly. “They’re going to hate her. Her and my step-dad. They’ll make fun of her.”

My eyebrows raise. “Make fun of her? How?! She’s just a little baby!”

“I know what they’re like.” His jaw clenches. “They’re going to talk shit about her, just to rile me up. It’s what they do. They love pissing me off. And she’s the illegitimate kid of a drug addict; they’ll have plenty of material.” He rubs his throat. “I can’t handle them insulting my daughter.”

I reach out, putting my hand over his. “Want me to go with you?”

He snorts. “I don’t need you to hold my hand while I talk to my mum. I’m a big boy.”

“You may be, but Cami is a tiny baby who will probably need some entertainment on the long journey. And someone to look after her while you talk with your parents.”

He pales. “Shit. Yes. I don’t want to shout in front of her.”

He looks so worried. On a whim, I pop up and press a kiss to his cheek, my lips brushing the warm, stubbly skin. At the same moment, he leans forward to rearrange Cami in the tub.

Our cheeks brush together, and we both freeze. My heart starts to beat faster as I inhale his warm cologne. I can feel his breathing pick up, his chest rising and falling a little too fast. Slowly, he turns towards me, his eyes dropping to my lips. My stomach freefalls.

Until now, I’ve ignored my growing crush on Sebastian. It didn’t seem appropriate. Seb was my boss, and he honestly didn’t seem particularly interested in me. But now he’s staring at me intently, his pupils blooming. The air is zinging with electricity. Slowly, he shifts forward, leaning in.

There’s a happy coo, and water splashes over us, hitting us both in the face. I choke, jolting back. Cami splashes the water again, squealing delightedly.

Seb clears his throat and reaches for the towel I’ve left folded on the edge of the bath.

I grab his arm, stilling him. “I’ve got this. Go to bed,” I say. “It’s all going to be okay.” He hesitates, and I smile. “I’ve got everything under control, remember?

He nods jerkily and stands, touching the top of my head lightly before turning and leaving the room. I wrap the towel around Cami’s shoulders and lift her out of the bath, bundling her up.

“You think you’re funny, don’t you?” I ask, my voice low.

She beams up at me, clapping her hands.


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